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Hackney boundary change plans untouched despite opposition from town hall

PUBLISHED: 09:54 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:41 17 October 2017

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, pictured with Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn during the Labour Party conference 2015. Picture: PA

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, pictured with Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn during the Labour Party conference 2015. Picture: PA

PA/Press Association Images

Plans to rip up and redraw Hackney’s electoral constituencies have remained untouched in the Boundary Commission’s latest report, despite “susbtantial opposition” from people in the borough – and the town hall itself.

Meg Hillier: 'It was fantastic to welcome the families to Hackney'. Picture: Parliament/Creative Commons (licence CC BY 3.0)Meg Hillier: 'It was fantastic to welcome the families to Hackney'. Picture: Parliament/Creative Commons (licence CC BY 3.0)

The Commission today published its revised proposals to reduce the number of MPs across the country by 50. It’s taking place because the Tories say they want to make all the constituencies a similar size, which they currently are not.

In September last year 68 London constituencies were proposed, down five from 73.

The plans included splitting Hackney up from two constituencies – Hackney South and Shoreditch, and Hackney North and Stoke Newington – into three new ones.

They were to be Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, Hackney Central, and Hackney West and Bethnal Green. That would likely cause a domino effect involving a string of current Labour MPs, with Jeremy Corbyn running in Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott taking on Hackney Central and Meg Hillier potentially battling it out for Hackney West and Bethnal Green with Rushnara Ali, the sitting MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville said he was “absolutely bemused” by the “disgraceful” way Hackney had been treated.

Constituent Lynne Troughton also opposed the plans. In comments sent to the commission, she wrote: “I live in the proposed Hackney Central but believe Hackney will be severely affected by the proposals to incorporate large swaths of Tower Hamlets into Hackney West. The demographics are completely different, residents of Bethnal Green and Spitalfields etc require very specific services that Hackney does not require on anything like the same scale.”

Despite the proposals not going down well, the only change in today’s publication is that Hackney West and Bethnal Green has been renamed Shoreditch and Bethnal Green.

Hackney Council’s already beleaguered electoral services department also spoke out against the plans, saying splitting the constituencies between two other boroughs, Islington and Tower Hamlets, would make things more complicated on polling day.

The boundary changes would boost the Conservatives’ chances of winning an election but Labour and the Lib Dems have urged ministers to abandon the plans, saying the government does not have enough support in the Commons to pass them.

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